BYU, Butler seek success away from home

Butler will get a chance to square off with BYU for the first time in nearly a century when the teams clash on Thursday night in a consolation-round game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament at Paradise Island, Bahamas.

In the sole meeting between both teams, the Bulldogs earned a 45-34 victory over the Cougars at the beginning of the 1930-31 season under Paul D. Hinkle, whose legacy lives on through Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler’s home arena in Indianapolis that was named after the longtime coach.

But the Bulldogs (3-2) won’t get to experience the comforts of home on Thursday, and they have struggled to find success on the road to start the season.

Both of Butler’s losses have come away from home, with the most recent one being a 71-45 setback to No. 22 Tennessee on Wednesday in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Jayden Taylor finished with 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting, but no other Bulldog scored in double figures. Ball security was among the most pressing issues, as Butler committed 23 turnovers in the loss.

“We’ve got to continue to build our mentality. We’ve got to continue to build our identity,” Bulldogs coach Thad Matta said. “I thought we took a step backwards (Wednesday) in terms of doing that.”

BYU (3-2) has also been reeling on the road, failing to win a game outside of Provo, Utah. The Cougars were more competitive than Butler in the first round of the tournament but still fell 82-76 to Southern California on Wednesday.

After trailing by 18 in the second half, BYU shaved the deficit to single digits but ultimately ran out of time to complete a comeback. Spencer Johnson finished with 18 points and four assists, and Rudi Williams had 15 points and six assists.

“I am proud of our guys’ effort in the end, trying to hang in there,” Cougars coach Mark Pope said. “I know we are all disappointed by how we played (Wednesday). We will play better (Thursday).”

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